x0x Turkish news for week ending 23 June 2007
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x0x Turkish news for week ending 23 June 2007
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Fuad Tokad.
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NEWS Edited by
* In response to the call by the Office of the Chief of General Staff
to the Turkish public to start a "mass people's movement" against
ongoing terror acts, a number of Turkish nongovernmental organizations
held a "silent march" in Istanbul's Caglayan Square over the weekend.
The silent march aimed to condemn terror by recalling a famous
phrase by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic,
"Peace at home, peace in the world", without chanting slogans,
reported the Turkish Daily News.
* The Turkish daily Sabah reports on tensions between Greece and
Turkey due to the treatment of the Turkish minority. The paper writes
that the first issue arose when invitations for the Cherry Festival in
the Greek town of Komotini donned the phrase "Turkish Association of
the Western Thrace" in Turkish.
The paper wrote that due to the crisis, the United States did not
give a promised fund of 35,000 euros to Turkey.
The news made headlines in Stohos News, an ultra-right wing
newspaper in Greece.
The other issue, Sabah writes, is that some Greek publications began
to threaten Ilhan Ahmet, the only Turkish representative in the Greek
parliament, saying Ahmet follows in the steps of Sadik Ahmet, another
Turk who has been fighting for the ethnic rights of the Turkish
Ilhan Ahmet said that he has been in the Greek parliament for three
years. "I am faced with awful attacks. Prosecutors must sue these
publications," said Ahmet.
Greece has around 120,000 ethnic Turks mainly living in western Thrace.
* French authorities charged two members of the outlawed Kurdish
Workers Party for terrorist crimes and laundering drug money after an
alarm raised by the employees from the Navo company, reported the
daily Hurriyet on Friday.
The party members, Esref Yolcu, 36, and Cemal Aslan, 42, had gone to
the Navo foreign exchange office in Paris to convert their 300,000
euros into dollars.
The employees of the foreign exchange office refused to convert such
a big amount of money and directed them to CPR Billet Bank. They
arranged a meeting for June 24, 2006 and also alerted the police.
Many organizational documents were also discovered while searching
the house of the party members, wrote the daily.
* Turkey's Higher education Board Monday launched a probe against
Bilkent University for allowing Kubra Gul, Turkey's Foreign Affairs
Minister Abdullah Gul's daughter, to wear a headscarf during her
graduation ceremony, reported the Turkish Daily News.
According to the Turkish law, wearing a headscarf is banned in
universities and many female students wear wigs instead of
headscarves. Kubra Gul wore a wig during her four years at the
university and graduated from the department of industrial
* According to a public opinion poll by the Mulkiye Graduates Union
Center for Administration Research, just one month before Turkey's
early general elections the expected turnout for the ruling Justice
and Development Party and the main opposition Republican People's
Party stands at 27 percent and 26.8 percent respectively reported the
daily Cumhuriyet on Wednesday.
The poll indicated that apart from the rise of the Republican
People's Party, the Nationalist Movement Party ranks third with 9.5
The poll was conducted by 17 academics from different state
universities and included 1,626 participants from 16 different regions
of Turkey. A similar poll was conducted in March. According to the
results of the poll, since March, the percentage of undecided voters,
which was 27 percent then, has decreased considerably.
Moreover, the Justice and Development and Republican People's Party
have increased the gap with other parties and continued their
competition at par with each other.
* The Istanbul Greater Municipality will open the Bosporus Bridge to
pedestrians stated mayor Kadir Topbas, reported the daily Sabah on
The municipal officials will award the pedestrians who cross the
bridge from Asia to Europe with a certificate.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* The Turkish private channel NTV reports that there has been a sharp
rise in the number of foreign tourists arriving in Turkey, with May
seeing a nearly 20 percent increase in the total of visitors.
In total, 2.2 million foreign tourists arrived in Turkey during May,
up from the 1.9 million for the same month in 2006.
For the first five months of the year, 6.4 million foreigners
visited Turkey, a 16.4 percent increase on the January to May figure
for 2006, reports NTV.
* As part of the fourth International Bodrum Film Festival, and
unusually named organization "We Cooked the Sea" group carried out a
recycling exhibition on Saturday in the sunk military ship TCSG 115.
The ship is located in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish shore.
Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Alp Cagpar from We Cooked the
Sea, said they have displayed art works created with different
materials at the exhibition that is being held 90 feet underwater.
He said the aim of the exhibition was to draw attention to the
importance of recycling, and added that they also shot a
four-and-a-half minute underwater film.
The film was shown at the opening of the International Bodrum Film Festival.
The 90-foot-long military ship, which was donated to the Bodrum
Underwater Association, was submerged on May 16 to contribute to
It is the first military ship submerged for this purpose in Turkey.
* International Interaction Society of Turkey gave Athena Kritikou
Yennimata, wife of Greek Ambassador to Turkey George Yennimata, the
"Foreign Mother of the Year" award on Tuesday.
The award is due to her work with children in Turkey as well as her
book titled "Life is a Journey," written for disabled children.
The society aims to develop relations between Turks and foreigners
living in Turkey via cultural and social events.
* A 200-year-old windmill in Turkey's Aegean Province of Mugla's Datca
Township has been restored to its original condition, reported the
Anatolia news agency.
The windmill was built in the 1800s in Datca and used to mill grain
until the 1970s.
There are 19 windmills in the Township territory. The other 18
windmills will also be restored, says the local administrator.
* Agence France Presse reports that Billy Hayes, the American whose
ordeal in a Turkish jail provided the basis for the 1978 movie
"Midnight Express," has returned to Turkey in a bid to mend fences
over the damage the movie caused to the country's image abroad.
Turkish authorities had sentenced Billy Hayes to 30 years in jail
for smuggling hashish in 1970. He then escaped from jail and upon
returning to the United States wrote a book about his experience.
Oliver Stone made a movie loosely based on the Billy Hayes'
Billy Hayes was in Istanbul to attend a the 2nd Democracy and
International Security Conference.
Hayes said that the image the movie created of Turkey and Turks was
not fair to them or to his experience.
According to Agence France Presse, Billy Hayes said that although he
did not write the screenplay or direct the movie, he accepts partial
responsibility for the damage it has done.
Turkish authorities had a ban on the Billy Hayes traveling to Turkey
but they say they have temporarily lifted the ban because he was
sincere in his remorse.
You can see interviews with Billy Hayes on Youtube.
* The longest cable car route in Europe entered service Saturday on
Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
Tahsin Kangeldi, general manager of Tahtali Teleferic Company, which
will operate the cable car, says that it will reach the peak of
7800-ft high Tahtali Mountain in 9.5 minutes by driving through a
Mr. Kangeldi added that the cable car will operate 365 days a year,
and was the first one to rise from sea level to a mountain peak. He
said it will present the natural beauties of Antalya Province with a
360-degree panoramic view.
* The Anatolia News Agency reports that historic Ayas houses,
attractive for their authentic architectural structure, are being
Ayas is a town in Turkey's Ankara province.
Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Ayas's local authority Nihat
Karabiber said the town whose history dated back to 1071 was one of
the earliest Turkish settlements in Anatolia. There were around 400
historic houses featuring authentic architectural texture that needed
protection in the town.
In the first phase, the project restored 74 of these historic houses
as well as the street they are located on.
Mr. Karabiber says that the next step was to restore three historic
mansions this year.
The houses in Ayas are generally two-storied, the upper floor used
to be the residence for people living in these houses. In some houses,
however, the ground floor was used as a stall. Most houses are painted
white or off white but some houses feature red, blue and green. Some
houses feature also brick construction elements.
The Silk Road Tourism Development project is providing the funds for
the renovation of the houses. The project, launched in 2004 by
Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, highlights the natural,
historical and cultural wealth of Turkey's provinces, cities and towns
along the Silk Road route through a series of restoration and
* The London Turkish Festival, which was held for the first time in
2004 and draws more attention every year, will be held on July 14 and
15 this year reported the Anatolia news agency.
Hasan Taslica, chairman of the festival's organizer Turkish Forum
UK, said that the festival has drawn 100,000 visitors since 2004.
"The festival, during which Turkish music, handicrafts and cuisine
are promoted, will be held again in the South Bank part of the River
Thames. The region will be decorated with flags and the Mehter
(Janissary Band) will be guests at the festival again," he said.
Taslica added that Turkish music groups from Turkey and Britain
would also be performing at the festival.
* The 10th International Shanghai Film Festival will screen two films
from Turkey: Mustafa Altioklar's "Shattered Soul" and Fatih
Haciosmanoglu's "Stone Pillow."
During the festival, 800 films from 73 countries will be on screen.
The festival ends on June 24.
* An exhibition at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia called "Being a Soul in the
House of Love: Mevlana Jelal al-din Rumi," is taking place.
Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism organized the exhibition as
part of UNESCO Mevlana Year activities and got it underway with a
press conference. The exhibition consists of nearly 200 works from
various museums describing the Mevlevi Order, which influenced the
community on fine arts such as music, literature and calligraphy.
The program is part of Mevlana Year in 2007 marking the 800th
anniversary of the birth of Mevlana Jelaladdin Rumi. Mevlana
Jelaladdin Rumi, the 13th century Turkish philosopher, was born in
Balkh and died in Konya. He lived most of his life and produced his
works under the dynasty of the Seljuk Turks.
Rumi's importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic
borders. Throughout the centuries he has had a significant influence
on Persian as well as Urdu and Turkish literatures.
His poems are widely translated into many of the world's languages
in various formats. Here in the U.S. books of his poetry are nearly
After Rumi's death, his followers founded the Mevlevi Order, known
sometimes as the "Whirling Dervishes," who believe in performing their
worship in the form of a dance and music ceremony called the "sema".
The exhibit runs until August 12.
* An unusual display of Americana is taking place in the heart of
Turkey. The Turkish daily news reports that Harley Davidson
motorcycles dating back to 1918 are on exhibition in the central
Turkish city of Konya at a shopping mall. The bikes are on loan from
the Harley Davidson Museum in Austria.
Among the motorcycles exhibited, a classical model of Harley, the
89-year-old "Indian," which is also known as the "big brother of red
Harley motorcycles" or the "Rolls-Royce of the motorbikes," arouses
the interest of visitors.
The fastest one at the exhibition is the 1981 model, "Shovelhead."
The 26-year-old motorbike can reach a speed of 115 mph with its 70
The manager of the shopping mall, Ersin Bal emphasized that the
exhibition has attracted attention. People of all ages are taking
souvenir photos, he says. "It was the first time in Turkey that a
shopping mall arranged something like this,"added Mr. Bal.
The Harley Davidson exhibition can be viewed until June 26. It will
then proceed to Turkey's Mediterranean city of Antalya on June 27.
* Tourism agents in Safranbolu, the historic town of Karabuk province
in Turkey, have started to organize nature tours for local and foreign
tourists. Bicycle tours to forests and highlands are the most popular
forms of nature tourism to visitors to Safranbolu, 70 percent of which
is surrounded by forests.
The town is already renowned for its centuries-old Ottoman houses.
The town is also a UNESCO world Heritage site.
See more at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/614
* Preparations for the 44th Golden Orange Film Festival, the third
International Eurasia Film Festival and the International Eurasia Film
Market started on Wednesday at a press conference in Antalya. The
Turkish Foundation for Film and Audiovisual Culture and the Antalya
Culture and Arts Foundation are organizing the festivals and the
market. The events will be held on October 19-28,
The foundation Chairman Engin Yigitgil said the head of the jury at
the festival will be the renowned Turkish actor Genco Erkal. Honorary
awards will be given to actor Halil Ergun and director Yavuz Turgul.
He said the Turkish travel Agencies' Union supported this year's
festival with a Scenario Improvement Award of $19,000 in local
currency. He added that sponsors Digiturk and Yurtici Karrgo will also
make a $23,000 contribution to the festival.
Mr. Yigitgil said the posters of the 44th Antalya Golden Orange Film
Festival and the third International Eurasia Film Festival will be
prepared by Emrah Yucel, who is known for his posters designed for
* The Istanbul leg of Live Earth concerts is cancelled due to the
lack of government support and insufficient sponsors. Other Live Earth
concerts will take place in the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil,
China, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Germany.
As we reported to you last week, Al Gore was in Istanbul to promote
The concerts, marking the beginning of a multi-year campaign led by
the Alliance for Climate Protection and other international
nongovernmental organizations, aims to move individuals, corporations
and governments to take action to prevent global warming.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.31
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 88/61 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 95/75 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 90/79 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 99/77 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 77/68 Partly Cloudy
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 72
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag 72
Aegean Sea measured at Izmir 77
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 75
Edited by Mark Nowak
* Turkey international Tuncay has signed for Newcastle on a free
transfer, the English Premiership club. The 25-year-old Fenerbahce
striker has agreed a four-year contract, pending a work permit.
* Just weeks before hosting the European Championships, Turkey's
central region of Cappadocia will be the scene for the Turkish
Mountain Biking Tournament this weekend.
The race starts Sunday at 10 a.m., the Championship consists of
90-minute races in many categories such as junior, senior, master (in
different age sub groupings of 30-39, 40-49, 50+) for both men and
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